Reactions to Credit Card Laws: ‘Consumer Friendly’ Offerings

Even though I lifted the moniker from this article on CNN Money, the scare quotes are appropriate.  I’ve written about the Credit Card Act of 2009 and its unintended consequences.  Lucky for you, the law is starting to bear fruit.  We’ve seen issuers who offer cards with 79.9% interest rates, at least this article features a few cards with redeeming qualities.  Anyway, you can tell the title is a bit tongue in cheek, but let’s tackle the features in the three cards shown.

Visas Galore! (John Lambert Pearson)

Useful Features

Overall, the cards do offer some useful features.  Those features may also be useless to you.  For example, the simple interest rates of the Bank of America offering are nice.  You don’t have to think twice about cash advances and balance transfers; they are the same rate as normal purchases.  However, you most likely balance transfer to one card, and a card which currently has a 17.25% rate isn’t going to be the one.  In fact, there are still zero percent balance transfer cards around, and some which still carry ridiculously low rates (often you pay a fee on the transferred balance, say 3 – 5%).

Chase’s JPM offering is also interesting.  If you can choose categories on which you don’t pay interest, maybe you can think about charging that example TV on your current credit card instead of opening a new line.  Really, the possibilities are pretty small currently with this feature, but perhaps enterprising credit-heads can figure out an interesting way to use this feature.  The jury is out, but I’d appreciate your comments.

Finally, the Citi card, the Forward.  I happen to carry that card since I was pushed off the Citi MTVu months ago.  I tend to pay off my balances every month (one time I didn’t with this card!), so any interest rate reductions haven’t helped me so far.  However, like the article mentions, the APR on the credit card is pretty high compared to some other cards.  Couple that with the reduction in Citi C rewards that occurred last year, and the card is starting to hurt.  I still use it for the 5% points back on food, movies, book stores and Amazon.com.  Still, like I mentioned last year, those 5% points back are not equal to 5% cash back.

Perfection in Card Form

Honestly, my ideal credit card hasn’t changed much.  Low APRs are nice, as are loyalty benefits for paying on time.  The most important thing to me is a quality rewards program.  Couple that with a decent credit limit, and you’ve got the Shangri-La of credit cards.  How about you?

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